What Does Sushi Taste Like? For Sushi Newbies

Have you ever heard about sushi? Perhaps, you’re not a Japanese and you don’t know much about Japanese culture, you must still have heard of sushi. It is a very popular Japanese food and in many countries all over the world, there are restaurants serving this tasty dish. However, those who have not tasted or eaten sushi before may not know its taste and are wondering whether they should give it a try or not. So, what does sushi taste like? To know the exact answer for that question, let’s check this blog out!

1. What Is Sushi?

First of all, we should get to know more about sushi before finding out the answer to the question ‘what does sushi taste like?’.

So, what is sushi?

Sushi is a traditional Japanese food made of vinegared rice with other ingredients such as vegetables, seafood and meat (usually fish) as toppings. It also accompanies tropical fruit slices like mango and peach and it has wasabi, soy sauce, radish, or pickled ginger as condiments.

what does sushi taste like

Served with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger, sushi is a great dish you cannot miss trying

2. What Does Sushi Taste Like?

As most sushi features raw fish as the main ingredient, you may think that sushi is very fishy. However, in fact, sushi is a very mild and neutral flavored food and there are no strong fishy flavors involved in it.

Salmon, tuna or eel functioning as the sushi toppings have very light flavors and these toppings give sushi a completely distinct taste. Because octopus has a stronger flavor, it is advisable that first-timers shouldn’t eat octopus-topped sushi.

What’s more, the subtle sweet and sour taste of tropical fruit slices such as ripe mango and peach added to the sushi really balances the fishy taste. Additionally, the dipping sweet soy sauce of the sushi also gives it a sweet yet salty taste.

The combination of fish taste, rice texture and seasonings in the sushi is absolutely perfect. This can make you feel all of its different elements merging together into one tasty and coherent whole once you eat the sushi in one bite.

Having read this blog so far, you might have known the answer to the question ‘what does sushi taste like?’. However, there are still more things you need to know about sushi taste. You know, different kinds of sushi can give you different feelings as they have their own taste. Now, let’s have a further look into this!

Different types of sushi will give you different tastes

         SEE MORE:

3. Different Kinds Of Sushi, Different Tastes

  • Maki

what does sushi taste like

Having a great harmony between sweetness and saltiness, Maki is really a must-try type of sushi

Maki is a type of sushi made from meat, fish and vegetables and are wrapped in nori or seaweed. You can also wrap the ingredients in soy paper, cucumber or egg omelet. After using a Japanese bamboo mat to roll the ingredients, Maki will be ready to be served right away.

If you are sushi newbies, you should start with trying California roll Maki made of crab sticks, avocado and rice. Besides, you can consider eating tekka maki or tuna sushi roll with the sweet and delicate meat and a very pleasing taste of tuna.

Maki has a great balance of sweetness and saltiness and you should definitely try eating it.

  • Nigiri

Basically made, but Nigiri features a wonderful sweetness of the vinegared rice included in it

Literally meaning hand-pressed sushi, Nigiri is a basic type of sushi as it only has a thin slab of carefully sliced meat topped over vinegared rice that features a wonderful hint of sweetness.

The fish topping is the highlight of this sushi and the topping can be fresh tuna, eel, shrimp, or octopus which can be either raw, grilled or fried.

For a more delicious taste, some chefs would add wasabi in the middle of the slice of seafood or fish, and rice or add spiciness to cater for those who would like to try spicy Nigiri.

  • Temaki

what does sushi taste like

How to eat Temaki? Just use your fingers and enjoy it

Temaki Sushi is cone-shaped and longer than most sushi. All of the ingredients in Temaki are similar to those of the Maki, but the Maki has more nori on the outside.

This type of sushi always has the best taste when the nori is still crispy and you can skip the chopsticks. Just enjoy the Temaki with your fingers!

  • Chirashi

On contrary to Temaki, Chirashi requires your using chopsticks

Chirashi is basically a bowl of sushi rice covered with different kinds of raw fish such as shrimp, tuna, salmon and sea urchin.

However, the raw fish can taste too strong and if you want a milder taste letting you get the real taste of sushi, you should try Chirashi stuffed with tuna, red snapper and squid.

What’s more, you need to use chopsticks to enjoy this type of sushi.

  • Inari

what does sushi taste like

Inari is a perfect alternative for those who are not really into raw fish

Inari is another type of sushi which is typically a rice ball wrapped in a tofu skin pouch. To make this sushi taste much more exciting, you should add some ingredients such as carrots, mushrooms, and sesame seeds.

If you don’t really like raw fish, Inari is a perfect alternative and it is really good at its taste.

After reading the information about the different kinds of sushi, we should go back to the question ‘what does sushi taste like?’ now. Well, the final answer is that the taste of sushi mainly depends on the topping used. The overall taste also comes from the vinegared rice and the other ingredients. One more thing, the taste differs from one kind of sushi to another.

4. How To Eat Sushi Properly?

In addition to knowing how sushi tastes exactly, there are certain tips on how to eat sushi. So, what are these helpful tips? Following the following steps, you’ll definitely get the best taste of sushi.

  • Eat sushi traditionally with your hands instead of using chopsticks so that you can avoid ruining the sushi’s shape
  • Pick the sushi up and dip a very small part of it (preferably the fish part) in the soy sauce. Avoid letting soy sauce touch the rice since this affects the flavor. You can add a little wasabi on top of the sushi if you want to.
  • Put the sushi into your mouth with the fish side touching your tongue and eat it in one bite only.
  • Eat a piece of pickled ginger to cleanse your palate

And the very last thing is that you should remember to compliment and thank the chef right after eating the sushi if you’re eating sushi in a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Check this video out to know how to eat sushi correctly!


What does sushi taste like? Hoping that you now all have the answer! You have known all about the taste of sushi, different types of it and the way to eat it, so why not start your sushi journey right now? Why not try sushi today? Give it a try and you’ll be impressed by its wonderful flavors.

About Haruto Suzuki

Haruto Suzuki is a senior food and drinks blogger at Question Japan. He has a background in F&B industry and also experience of running his own Japanese restaurant in Tokyo for over 10 years. Therefore, he has a great knowledge of Japanese cuisine. So if you want to discover Japan through its unique traditional cuisine, Haruto Suzuki’s blog will be a great source of information for you.